How to deal with ragging

Here are some measures that can help freshers tackle ragging in college
Last Updated 30 May 2018, 19:49 IST

Today, we see several students moving away from home to pursue a degree in the subject of their choice. While it is easier for some students to settle down easily in the new environment, it is not the same for many. For them, leaving home to study in another place can be stressful and hence, can take time to adjust. However, this can be slowed down if they become victims of ragging. This may lead to serious repercussions and students may even drop out of college due to the undue stress they experience.

In such situations, we need to ensure that the students receive necessary support through proper counselling and deal with this menace successfully. While it is important that seniors guide newcomers to adjust to the college environment, this is not always the case as ragging is seen as a way to break the ice. However, today, it comes at a deadly cost for students as some may take extreme measures due to ragging.

Dr Hiren Gohai, a poet and social scientist, says, “Ragging is a social menace with roots in a society where inhuman, anti-social feelings are widespread. People have high ambitions but limited opportunities. Hence, competition, envy and jealousy are dominant. Young people vent negative feelings through such acts. It is infectious.” Professor Manju Kapur, a novelist and retired professor of English, adds that the real harm seems to be in boys’ institutions, particularly in hostels. “Perhaps older students can be sensitised to the harm this does,” she says. Though colleges and universities are aware of it, proper and swift action is not taken when a ragging incident takes place.

Though ragging is seen as a way to make friends, this is often not the case. Many times, ragging turns nasty. Seniors often use it as an opportunity to harass the juniors by resorting to physical as well as mental abuse.

Precautionary measures

There are various anti-ragging guidelines that have been put in place to ensure that ragging does not take place on the campus. Reading these can help one cope with ragging. When necessary, students can use the national anti-ragging helpline — 18001805522 or helpline@antiragging.in.

A written complaint should be registered before the college authorities when a student faces this problem. Students should make new friends and move with a group so that they can prevent or save themselves from any untoward incident. Most importantly, it is essential that freshers know the members of the college anti-ragging team and have their numbers in hand. Additionally, it is important that college authorities and police take action swiftly if any severe case of ragging takes place. Do not hesitate to report ragging incidents to the authorities concerned.

Apart from these, awareness programmes can be conducted in the college. Instances of ragging can come down when students are made aware of the ill-effects of ragging through innovatively designed sessions and contests. These can act as a platform for students to discuss the various issues that new students face as a result of ragging, psychologically and physically. For instance, in 2017, the University Grants Commission (UGC) held a filmmaking competition to promote a healthy debate on the issue of ragging. Colleges can invite the police to hold talks on the ill-effects of ragging. Many colleges have begun asking students to submit undertakings during admissions that they will not indulge in ragging.

One must know that any form of physical or sexual offense is strictly illegal and is a punishable offence. Students should not hesitate to raise their voice against this menace as they have the support of college authorities, police, friends and family.

(Published 30 May 2018, 18:30 IST)

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